Metal Romance (2019) by Ruby Gloom stages the complex relationship between subject and virtual identity, between the body and its avatars.

Gloom presents its digital alter ego, Ruby, in its ten different versions: Gloom gave birth to the first digital Ruby in 2016, and since then it has never stopped changing its appearance, so that little by little the followers would forget about Gloom physically looked like and could only recognize her digital version on social media.

All the protagonists of Metal Romance have absolute independence from Gloom, so much that they have their own voice, their own character and their own goals; they refer to her as ‘my creator’, and they know they’re her enhanced, improved, freer versions. They are sorts of ‘updated alter-egos’ of Gloom whom the artist recognizes, approves; they make her feel at ease: while Ruby Gloom is insecure, feels awkward and full of flaws, digital Rubies are proud, fierce and their scars are shiny, metallic and charming. They go beyond any gender, form distinctions, away from an organic ground: they have prosthesis, artificial limbs, robotic body parts, plastic inserts. They are cyborgs.

Metal Romance is also the only space – impalpable but no less effective – in which the artist allows herself to have relationships. With their amplified erotic charge, Gloom’s avatars also navigate the world of virtual sexuality: a solitary, often cold dimension that in the frustration of the unfinished and sometimes of self-pity, transmits a total rejection of any biological and organic contact.

In fact, the body is not something that Rubies regret or would like to have, it is just an infinite series of constraints and limits: the lightness of being able to recreate new versions of oneself from nothing is priceless.

Ruby Gloom, Metal Romance, 007 _Warmth, 2019
©the artist